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Time ATAC XC4 review

A timeless classic that’s surprisingly uncommon, given its off-road credentials

Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
GBP £61.00 RRP | USD $79.00 | EUR €69.00 | AUD $119.00
Time ATAC XC4 gravel pedals

Our review

Lightweight, great engagement and budget-friendly, the Time ATAC XC4 system has to be ridden to be believed
Pros: Lightest system on test; easy to clip out; generous float; serviceability
Cons: Unique cleat not cross-compatible with other systems; release adjustability through cleat type only
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Once the go-to choice of fixed-gear messengers and 90s cross-country racers, Time’s ATAC pedals have a reputation for being among the best mountain bike pedals, yet are surprisingly uncommon today.

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A unique, lightweight mechanism is designed to aid mud shedding throughout the XC series, ranging from the budget XC2 to the premium podium-topping XC12 build.

Time ATAC XC4 specifications and details

Time uses a proprietary engagement mechanism.
Katherine Moore / Our Media

The plastic pedal body and hollow steel axle of the Time ATAC XC4 result in a very lightweight pedal system. The open-cage setup is designed to help shed mud as you clip in, forcing debris out of the front of the pedal, with XC, cyclocross and gravel riding in mind.

Unlike SPD-style systems, the Time ATAC release and entry tension is set through the brass steel cleat choice rather than an adjustable spring on the pedal. Easy-release cleats are supplied, with a release angle of 10 degrees, and there are also 13/17-degree cleats available.

Time ATAC XC4 performance

Clipping out is quick and simple.
Katherine Moore / Our Media

Setup is simple, with the ATAC easy cleats labelled clearly for left and right shoes.

For someone with a bit of a fear of not being able to clip out quickly due to some unfortunate ‘unclipcidents’ in the past, being able to clip out with the slightest twist of the ankle was a major bonus with the easy-release cleats supplied.

Having said that, the pedal system still feels very secure when you’re clipped in, with a decent amount of float in the system. Despite being very easy to clip out when required, I didn’t clip out by mistake once.

If you prefer a mechanism that’s harder to clip out of, the 13/17-degree release angle cleats available separately give you options, depending on how they’re set up on the shoe.

For even more tension adjustment, this is also available on the pedal on models from the XC6 (£75 / €84 / $100) upwards.

The simple Time cleats are made from a brass steel.
Katherine Moore / Our Media

The action required to clip into the pedal didn’t take long to get used to, though it does require more of a stomp than some other pedal types.

On a few occasions when I hadn’t quite clipped in straightaway, resting a shoe on the pedal and riding technical sections didn’t feel too sketchy. The mechanism is fairly low-profile on the top of the pedal and not too slippery.

If you do prefer the support of a larger platform, or are looking for something more trail- or enduro-oriented, consider the Time ATAC MX series, with the MX2 at £57 / €63 / $74.

I enjoyed the slimline shape of the Time ATAC XC4, because I didn’t hit a pedal once, even when riding the very rocky red trail at Penmachno.

The pedals are fully serviceable, which is a big bonus, simply by removing the end cap and inner nylon lock nut.

Time ATAC XC4 bottom line

The Time ATAC 4 pedals weigh in at only 335g, including cleats.
Katherine Moore / Our Media

Given the performance of the Time ATAC XC4 pedal system, I find it surprising that it’s not used more commonly.

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Lightweight, super-easy to clip out of and with a knee-friendly level of float, the only major drawback is the shift away from easy-to-find standard SPD cleats.

How we tested

Gravel fire roads, dusty singletrack, back lanes and rocky bridleways; the best gravel bike pedals need to be able to cope with a wide variety of terrain. Therefore, we tested the pedals in a range of scenarios representative of off-road riding in the UK.

All pedals were tested using the same shoes – the Fizik Terra Atlas, a 2-bolt all-road shoe that’s designed for gravel riding, mountain biking and hike-a-bike.

We specifically paid close attention to the ease of clipping in and out, how secure the mechanism felt and the level of support offered by the platform, as well as how serviceable each set would be.

Product Specifications


Price br_price, 5, 3, Price, AUD $119.00EUR €69.00GBP £61.00USD $79.00
Weight br_weight, 5, 6, Weight, 291g – (claimed 294g), cleats 44g (claimed 45g), Array, g
Brand br_brand, 5, 10, Brand, Time


Features br_Features, 11, 0, Features, Cleats: Time-specific ATAC cleats required (ATAC Easy cleats included); 10 degree release angle with ATAC Easy cleats, 13 or 17° with ATAC cleats; 5 degrees of float
Colours: Black
Cleat type br_cleatTypepedalSystem, 11, 0, Cleat type, Time